SAVANNAH, GEORGIA – Last week, USA Rice staff were among more than 1,000 culinologists, food scientists, R&D chefs, and corporate decision makers at the Research Chef Association (RCA) Conference here. The conference included breakout sessions, networking events, and a trade show floor that featured more than 110 exhibitors showcasing new technology and the future of food.
During the conference, USA Rice visited with InHarvest and Nate’s Fine Foods, both of which utilize U.S.-grown rice, to discuss consumer trends and ways USA Rice could help them promote their U.S. rice products. Additionally, staff talked with representatives of several major rice customers and potential customers about consumer demands and the range of rice varieties grown in the U.S. Staff also attended learning sessions on topics including the current food labeling landscape, the plant based protein movement, the relationship between culinary innovation and regulatory compliance, and how to become a better trend spotter.
Some of the culinary highlights of the show were soft-serve Horchata using U.S. long grain rice, a nontraditional take of Risotto using Carolina gold rice, a spicy chocolate rice krispy-style treat made with U.S. brown rice, and black rice smoothie.
“As we look to make connections with corporate chefs and get a pulse on what the culinology world wants from rice, the show is quite the resource,” said Cameron Jacobs, manager of domestic promotion for USA Rice who attended the conference. “We were able to gauge how our messaging resonated with these culinologists and get a behind-the-scenes look into the future of food.”
Jacobs said the show also offered a unique opportunity for USA Rice to interact with chefs on the leading edge of culinary trends and discuss explore possible collaborations to promote U.S.-grown rice to a larger audience.